Lawmakers Attempt to Undermine Longstanding, Successful Union Apprenticeship Programs

June 18, 2019

Congressional Lawmaker Proposes Amendment that Would Put Taxpayer Money in the Pockets of Non-union Corporate Interests

Tempe, Ariz. (June 18, 2019) On June 13, 2019, there was yet another attempt to create a taxpayer-funded revenue stream to pay for non-union apprenticeship programs and undermine successful union apprenticeship programs.

U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., introduced an amendment to H.R. 2740, a Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development  Appropriations Act, 2020, to “grant funds for apprenticeships to be used for apprenticeship programs registered with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) as well as industry-recognized apprenticeship programs.” The amendment failed on a 158-266 vote with six Arizona Congressional Representatives voting in opposition to this wasteful use of taxpayers’ money that would have allowed unproven, untested, and unregistered programs to access public dollars.

Rep. Hill and his colleagues were proposing a costly fix to a problem that doesn’t exist. In Arizona, and around the U.S., private trade unions offer technologically advanced, debt-free apprenticeship programs that provide real-world, hands-on training at zero cost to taxpayers. These programs have been around for decades, trained generations of skilled workers, are accredited by the Department of Labor, meet regulatory and EEO requirements, ensure an apprenticeship wage and safe working conditions, and have a proven track-record of success.

“It is important to note that non-union entities are requesting funding at the federal level for apprenticeship programs that are not regulated by the Department of Labor,” said Israel G. Torres, Managing Partner of Torres Consulting and Law Group. “This is yet another attempt to put taxpayer money into the pockets of corporate interests by promoting unregistered and untested industry-recognized apprenticeship programs (IRAPs).”

TCLG represents clients across the country that prepare apprentices to learn the newest techniques in their trades, and make safety training a top priority. No matter which trade interests a prospective apprentice, there are already state-of-the-art training programs that are privately funded that will enable the student to set the foundation for a successful career while earning a competitive salary and getting real-world experience on the job site.

“The proposed amendment does not guarantee that apprentices would be paid a fair, prevailing wage for performing skilled work or that they would be properly trained with an accredited curriculum,” added Torres. “IRAPs undercut the Davis-Bacon Act, which has ensured fair wages for apprentices and construction workers for generations. While there’s little debate that Arizona needs more highly-skilled labor to work on construction projects throughout our state, putting federal taxpayer dollars into the pockets of non-union contractors undervalues the skills of hardworking Arizonans and hurts working families.”

TCLG Public-Funded Non-Union Apprentice Programs June 2019.docx